Sizzling(Buchanans, Book 3)(14) by Susan Mallery
The thought of that shamed her and she spoke before she could stop herself.
“Just so we’re clear, I’m not interested in you,” she said coolly. “Or anyone like you. You’re no one I could like or respect.”
The words hung there in the silence. She desperately wanted to call them back. What had she been thinking? He was Reid Buchanan—he could emotionally eviscerate her with a couple of well chosen words.
She braced herself for the attack as he rose and stared down at her. But he didn’t say what she’d expected.
“I thought you were different,” he said quietly. “I didn’t think you were the type to kick me when I was down. Guess I was wrong.”
And then he was gone and she was alone.
Shame returned, but this time it had nothing to do with wanting a man she could never have. Instead it was about hurting someone who didn’t deserve to be hurt.
She’d been trying to make herself feel better by saying he was nothing more than an empty shell—a pretty façade, not a real person. But she’d been wrong. Reid was very real.
She’d been disrespectful and dismissive. Pretty much acting the way she’d expected him to act. The way others had acted toward her.
She’d become someone she didn’t like and she didn’t know how to fix that.
LORI STARED at the ringing phone. “Are you going to get that?” she asked.
Gloria continued to flip through the DVD magazine. “There’s no one I want to talk to.”
“Then I guess I’ll talk to them.” Lori grabbed the phone. “Hello?”
“This is Cal Buchanan. You’re, ah…”
“Lori Johnston. We spoke when you called before. Hi. How are you?”
“Good. I’m phoning to check on my grandmother. I thought I might come by later and visit.”
“That’s great.” Lori covered the phone and smiled at Gloria. “It’s Cal. He wants to see you.”
Gloria didn’t bother looking up. “No. Tell him to go away.”
Lori uncovered the phone. “She’s thrilled and can’t wait to see you.”
Cal chuckled. “Want to let me hear her say that?”
“Not really. She doesn’t always say what she means. You have to read between the lines.”
Gloria glared at Lori. “Hang up this instant. You will not answer my phone again, nor will you speak for me.”
Lori took a step back so she was out of reach. “Your grandmother is doing great. She’s making progress every day. Even her physical therapist is impressed and he’s one tough guy to please. She’s gained a little weight. Not as much as I would like, but then I’m just bitter at how good she must look in her clothes.”
Gloria’s scowl didn’t soften. “You’re annoying me. Hang up. Or tell Cal he can visit, but just him. Not that whore he married or her horrible baby.”
Lori winced. She hadn’t had the phone covered and based on how Cal swore, he’d heard every word.
“Why do I bother?” he asked before he hung up.
Lori put down the phone. “What is wrong with you?” she demanded. “Why would you do that? He’s your grandson. This is the second time he’s called, wanting to come see you. To me that shows an impressive level of commitment. If he was just being polite, he would have stopped after one call.”
Instead of answering, Gloria turned her attention back to the catalog.
Lori snatched it from her and tossed it on the ground. “I’m talking to you.”
“I have no interest in this conversation. You need to be careful. You’re coming very close to overstepping your bounds.”
“Excuse me while I tremble in fear.” Lori stalked to the bookcases and turned back to face the bed. “What’s wrong with you?” she asked again. “Why are you acting like this? It doesn’t make any sense. I know you’re lonely. I know you’re hurting and feeling a sense of your own mortality. Who wouldn’t after what you’ve been through? So you deal with that by connecting with people. But you don’t connect. We’re talking about your family and you keep pushing them away. Why?”
“I will not discuss this with you.”
“Too bad, because I’m not leaving until I understand.”
Gloria folded her arms across her chest and looked out the window. Lori stared at her.
“I thought you had the most selfish grandkids in the world,” she said slowly. “You’d lost your only child, you took them in, raised them, ran the family business and your reward was for them to ignore you. But it’s not like that, is it? You push them away. What are you trying to prove?”
“Stay out of this,” Gloria told her, her face tight with anger. “This isn’t your business. You will stop right now.”
“Who’s gonna make me? You? You think you’re so tough, but I’m not afraid of you.”
One corner of Gloria’s mouth twitched. “Very mature.”
Lori held in a grin. Oh, my. Was that a crack in the armor? A sign of humanity? It couldn’t be.
“I don’t care about mature,” Lori told her. “I do what works. What’s going on with Cal? Why don’t you want to see him?”
Gloria turned to the window again, but this time the action seemed more about pain than defiance. “He’s never respected me.”
“I doubt that.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online